Officials: Peeling paint in Libertyville High gym contained lead

  • Tests confirm peeling paint discovered inside Libertyville High School's main gymnasium last week contains potentially hazardous lead.

    Tests confirm peeling paint discovered inside Libertyville High School's main gymnasium last week contains potentially hazardous lead. Daily Herald File Photo, 2018

 
 
Updated 11/20/2019 8:36 PM

Tests confirm peeling paint discovered on exposed air ducts inside Libertyville High School's main gymnasium contains potentially hazardous lead, officials said Wednesday, and the gym will remain off-limits until the problem can be rectified.

In an emergency meeting Wednesday night, the Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 board unanimously voted to remove the existing ducts, repaint the area and replace the ducts with new equipment. The effort could cost up to $175,000, officials announced in a news release.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The paint was discovered Friday on overhead duct work during a scheduled inspection of the gym, District 128 spokeswoman Mary Todoric said. As a precaution, the gym has been closed to students and employees since that afternoon.

Physical education classes scheduled to be held in the main gym have temporarily been moved to other locations at the school, Todoric said. Athletic practices and games set for the gym have been relocated, too.

Officials expect the work should be completed and the gym reopened during the first week of December.

It's the second time this year that the gym has been closed because of damaged lead paint, officials said. After the first discovery in March, officials scraped and removed the spots and repainted them.

None of those areas are involved this time, officials said.

Lead is a highly toxic metal that can damage the brain, kidneys, nerves and blood when absorbed into the body, according to a report on the U.S. Housing and Urban Development's website.

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Lead poisoning can cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and death. Symptoms of lead poisoning include headaches, stomach aches, nausea, tiredness and irritability, according to the federal report.

No lead-related illnesses have been reported at Libertyville High, Todoric said.

Young children are especially susceptible to lead poisoning. Sometimes, children eat paint chips containing lead or put their hands or other lead-contaminated objects in their mouths.

Lead also can be absorbed through contact with contaminated dust or soil.

Students or parents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact Principal Tom Koulentes or Athletic Director John Woods.

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